Wildlife

Watauga is full of beautiful wildlife, some can be fun to see and are welcome in your yard and other give citizens an uneasy feeling and simply wish these critters would go away.....Watauga Animal Services can either help you remove unwanted wildlife and provide you with helpful tip for deterring animals from your property.

Click here to view the Texas Parks and Wildlife website concerning PROTECTED WILDLIFE in the state of Texas. 


TRAPPING:


Small wildlife/animals such as raccoons, opossums, cats, squirrels and skunks can be humanly trapped in a Live Animal Trap.  The Shelter can provide Watauga residents with a trap for a $55.00 deposit that will be returned to you once you have trapped the wildlife/animal you are wanting removed from your property. You may also use your own private trap as long as it is humane and Animal Control will remove whatever you may have trapped. 


FOXES:


The City of Watauga has seen an influx of Foxes this year, you may be surprised, and even frightened, to discover that foxes live in your neighborhood, but these fears are almost completely groundless. If a City resident inquires about fox or sees any in the area, Animal Control's best response is to educate them and possibly give them tips for natural deterrents.  We will not set the dog trap unless the fox is known to be ill or injured.  If capture is made, the Animal Control Officer will need to contact Texas Parks and Wildlife for information.

Foxes aren’t dangerous to humans, except when they are rabid (which is very rare) or are captured and handled. Even then, it takes a lot of handling for a fox even to defend himself by biting. Quite the opposite: the fox’s natural tendency is to flee rather than fight.

Red foxes occasionally prey on small house cats or kittens and will take small animals such as rabbits, guinea pigs, and poultry when they are left outside unprotected.

Both red and gray foxes will eat cultivated grapes, raspberries, and other fruit, but they usually don’t bother garden vegetables.

In all, foxes do such little damage and cause so few conflicts with people that we hesitate to characterize them as a problem at all. Nonetheless, thousands are killed every year because they are perceived as threats.


  • Repellents

    No repellents are registered expressly for use on foxes, although the many products sold to repel domestic dogs from yards and gardens undoubtedly will have a similar effect on a passing fox.
  • Scare devices

    - There are several scare devices that are both humane and effective at keeping these extremely sensitive animals out of areas where they are not wanted.
  1. Noise-making devices, ranging from transistor radios to motion-sensitive alarms, work well when combined with  repelling and harassing strategies.
  2. A motion-activated sprinkler can be an effective deterrent in lawns or gardens.
  3. Using a loud voice or banging on a pot or pan can frighten foxes.
  • Harassment

  1. Fox dens under porches and decks are one of the most commonly reported issues with these animals.
  2. As with any wild animal who is denning or nesting in an inconvenient spot, we recommend you tolerate the family until the young are old enough to follow the parents on nightly forays and the family moves on.
  3. When they are gone, exclude them from reusing the den.
  4. Fox kits will spend time playing outside the den just before they are able to go out with their parents, making this one of the most enjoyable wildlife viewing experiences people can have.
  5. Still, some people will want the family to move sooner rather than later. In these cases, mild harassment may make the parents uncomfortable and encourage them to move their litter to a more secure location:
  6. Start by placing objects, leaves, soil, or mulch in the den openings to disturb the residents.
  7. Used kitty litter or almost anything with a strong human scent will also alarm the foxes.(Try a sweat-soaked T-shirt after a good jog.)
  8. People claim success in getting fox families to move simply by mounting Mylar® balloons two to three feet off the ground, just outside the entrance to the den.
Note: After you think the foxes have moved, make sure all the kits are out of the den before  permanently excluding them.


  • Remove sources of food

  1. Food lures foxes so to reduce the likelihood of their visiting your yard be sure to...
  2. Never compost meat scraps.
  3. Store trash  securely or place it outside only on the morning of collection.
  4. Don’t leave pet food outside.
  5. Never deliberately feed wild animals such as foxes.
  6. Keep area under bird feeders free of spilled seed.

COYOTES:


Generally, coyotes are reclusive animals who avoid human contact. 

Coyotes who have adapted to urban and suburban environments, however, may realize there are few real threats and may approach people or feel safe visiting yards even when people are present.  These coyotes have become habituated (lost their fear of humans), probably owing to the bounty of food that they have become accustomed to feeding upon in your neighborhood.  These bold coyotes should not be tolerated or enticed but instead given the clear message that they should not be so brazen.


  • Hazing

    Hazing is a method that makes use of deterrents to move an animal out of an area or discourage an undesirable behavior or activity. Hazing can help maintain a coyote’s fear of humans and deter them from backyards and play spaces.
  • Methods of hazing

    Using a variety of different hazing tools is critical so that coyotes don’t get used to redundant or single stimulus devices, sounds, and actions.
  1. Yelling and waving your arms while approaching the coyote.
  2. Noisemakers: Voice, whistles, air horns, bells, “shaker” cans full of marbles or pennies, pots, lids, or pie pans banged together.
  3. Projectiles: sticks, small rocks, cans, tennis balls, rubber balls.
  4. Other: hoses, water guns with vinegar water, spray bottles with vinegar water, pepper spray, bear repellent.
  • “Go away coyote!”

    The simplest method of hazing a coyote involves being loud and large:
  1. Stand tall, wave your arms, and yell at the coyote, approaching him if necessary, until he runs away as demonstrated in this coyote hazing video. 
  2. If a coyote has not been hazed before, he may not immediately run away when you yell at him. If this happens, you may need to walk towards the coyote and increase the intensity of your hazing.
  3. The coyote may run away, but then stop after a distance and look at you. It is important to continue to go after the coyote until he completely leaves the area.  You may need to use different tactics, such as noisemakers, stomping your feet, or  spraying the coyote with a hose, to get him to leave.
  • Dog-walking tools

    - There are several tools that you can carry with you while walking your dog that can be used to repel coyotes.  These include:
  1. Homemade noisemakers 
  2. Whistle or small air horn (you can purchase small air horn “necklaces”)
  3. Squirt guns
  4. Pepper spray
  5. Sticks or other objects to throw towards (but not at) the coyote 
  • In your yard

    Remember, keeping pets and pet food inside is the best way to keep coyotes out of your yard.  If you do encounter coyotes, all of the above methods can be used in your yard at home.  First, try the “Go away coyote!” method (yell and wave your arms as you approach the coyote).  Here are some additional methods you can also use:
  1. Squirt the coyote with your garden hose
  2. Spray the coyote with vinegar water
  3. Bang pots and pans together.
  • Important things to remember

  1. Never run away from a coyote!
  2. The coyote may not leave at first, but if you approach him closer and/or increase the intensity of your hazing, he will run away.
  3. If the coyote runs away a short distance and then stops and looks at you, continue hazing until he completely leaves the area.
  4. After you have successfully hazed a coyote, he or she may return again. Continue to haze the coyote as you did before; it usually takes only one or two times to haze a  coyote away for good.
 
coyote